One of the most anticipated events and loved film series is Star Wars! From those who fondly remember seeing that massive star destroyer fill the theater screen for the first time in 1977, to those who’ve only watched the later animated version, millions of fans eagerly await a return to that universe far, far away. Similarly, the parents among you may also be remembering your inaugural journey to a college campus far, far away — as you prepare your own son or daughter for imminent departure into an unfamiliar universe. You may already feel like you are careening through a veritable asteroid belt of urgent priorities — checklists, dorm requirements, aid applications, medical forms, roommate concerns, and the ever stressful “what stays and what goes.” Before you launch the escape pods, The Della Porta Group suggests you schedule a review of your student’s “away at school” insurance needs.
Here are but a few of the questions every parent and student should consider:
• How will your homeowners insurance respond for a personal property loss at college? Packing for school once meant a few boxes and a suitcase, but moving on today’s campuses typically involves trucks and trailers. How much will your student cart off to their dorm or apartment? Will it be properly covered for such losses as theft or fire, or will adequate coverage require endorsements or even a separate policy?
• Will your student take a car to college? If so, who owns it? Where will it be garaged? Who will drive it? Should you change the location address on your current policy for that vehicle to the school location? How will this change affect your current policy? How will your current auto policy respond if your student’s roommate has an accident while borrowing your student’s car? What if your student is borrowing a roommate’s car?
• Will your student live on or off campus? In a dorm, apartment or rented house? These variables, especially for older students, can impact your current protection and dictate a need to modify your policy or purchase a new one. For many insurance companies, there are also underwriting and coverage considerations based upon how many roommates will share your student’s humble abode.
• What about liability protection? Yours as well as your student’s? A multitude of liability issues may arise from a family member living elsewhere. Some are common to any such arrangement, but others are unique to college students and their parents. Even when students are otherwise of legally independent age, can parents still face liability for the student’s actions while away?
• How will your current health insurance apply at college? Will there be “in-network” professionals and facilities available locally? Does the college have its own infirmary, pharmacy or hospital facilities? Will your current plan cover their services? Are student insurance plans available, especially for activities like organized sports? Is it advisable to take advantage of them, regardless of your current coverage? Are there eligibility issues, especially if your student is older, is disabled, gets a full-time job or gets married? While these considerations may seem to complicate an already anxiety-filled process, rest assured The Della Porta Group independent agent knows this area of the galaxy like Han knows the Falcon. During your review you’ll find answers, experienced advice and options for those areas not already adequately addressed by your current coverage. Then, should claim time ever come, you’ll be relieved to find yourself protected. May the Force (and The Della Porta Group) be with you!
[SIDEBAR] Avoid First Day Trauma First year away at college? Here are a few tips from moving experts:
• Checklist, checklists, checklists.
• Confirm housing and dining options at school.
• Attend orientation programs.
• Plan transportation: If you take a car, where will you park? If you don’t take a car, how will you get around?
• Be sure your computer and other technology will meet your school requirements and rules.
• What are the school/dorm guidelines for personal property? Are certain items (such as appliances) approved or banned? What will be provided?
• How much are you allowed to decorate your room?
• Who will be available (student advisors or staff) on campus to help you with housing or other issues?
• Contact your future roommates and coordinate the answers to the above or other “shared living space” questions prior to arrival. For example, who’s taking which room or bed is not an issue best decided on site.